A Tour of CryptoArg’s Fantástico Riesgo País
CryptoArg (CA) is a vast community of artists whose core centers around the Argentinian art and design scene. Gathering in a Discord server, Latin American and Argentinian artists share knowledge and experiences about the crypto world and work together in collaboration and creative outputs. From this network, CA considers their SuperRare Space a place to present collaborative artworks from different artists working from a similar social framework, a specific context for creating that comes with its own unique characteristics.
The first CryptoArg SuperRare Space exhibition considers a topic that can be approached at a territorial level and has an effect on the creative context: Country Risk–a well-known economic index that binds financial crises and market speculation together in a vicious circle that has left its fingerprints all over the economies of the global south.
However, the motivation behind the Space isn’t solely data-driven. Since we are working with art, alternative and creative thinking is needed to develop a crafted and resistant vernacular. For this reason, we include a literary genre (the Fantastic) as it allows us to explore our cultural and contextual characteristics in a poetic way, where symbols can unfold openly instead of always needing to be defined.
The Fantastic is an apt genre to search for new narrative meanings within the journalistic and media discourses that are imposed as reality—supported by the factic order of numbers and the forgetting of the biases of calculation. This is something we can see reflected in Argentinian artistic production, which generally proposes a world in between contextual tensions, and where issues such as the devaluation of national currency and inflationary pressure are some of the recurrent factors that create constant economic instability.
Working with a concept that comes from the institutional aspect of countries, and departing from an oeuvre that inhabits the crypto circuit, is simultaneously complex and fascinating – providing the opportunity to amplify the meaning of material phenomena, such as Country Risk or the economical conditions in the countries we inhabit.
The exhibition aims to explore established concepts within a symbolic field: from a sensitive and emotional perspective that considers the context from which the artworks were produced. The pieces bring us different types of mutations, constructed over a delicate equilibrium, on the edge of brokenness, with the primary goal of losing forms to inhabit a scene before ruin. There is a deep poetic meaning in each of the artworks, a lyric based on the chance of an existence beyond the impossible and the controversial.
It is, without a doubt, a challenging and even polemic topic. Each artist might have their own point of view, but all work from a starting point that aims to problematize our own narrative.
A Suspicious Nature
Dani Leoni’s and Lulu’s pieces present different ideas about the natural, the supernatural, the real, and the artificial. Inner Garden by Dani Leoni shows a stripped scene of abandonment in which a force operates over the concrete and breaks the established. In this context, ruin can be nature’s triumph; at the same time, what appears as already existing is a spectral quality between life and death.
Lulú presents Tres Deseos, a map of textures about to disappear. It is lush, of a tropical nature, and slightly plastic. An altar or maybe a Chinese decoration in a fishbowl can be found in the vagueness. In the end, the scene is composed of objects charged with sentimental value, sustained only by a faith that lasts until the candles are extinguished.
Atad0 con Alambr3 by The internet Office plays with a composing tension. Very eclectic materialities are forced to match their divergences. As pure elements, they form some kind of exotic jewel and, in their artificiality, are capable of spreading life. They have an organic behavior. These elements, displayed in tension, depict the cultural heritage and the transgenic mutation of their natural resources.
In a collaboration between Afr0dita and Milton Sanz, Todo Teatro es Liminal proposes a scene placing controversy at the center through explicit elements that are dulastic and, sometimes, even beyond recognition. A source of unknown narratives invites us to live in mystery. With a romantic aesthetic, related to the pictorial tradition and the still life, the artwork is full of a symbolism for possible stories.
Frenetik Void’s piece, Incendios, presents the problem of being saturated. A body burned by an overload of information, adulterated by the different issues that impinge on its existence and context. In the frenzy of a furious environment, an aesthetic and poetic meaning emerges from the crisis, based on the total and irreversible deformation of the known.
What can we become by surviving?
From Faktor’s piece, which shows a nonhuman germinal creature, to Luxi’s or Gcrll’s, which both question sustainability, equilibrium, and materiality: the scene changes, while the problem persists in a form produced by instability. What survives the disaster is presented in the story accompanying the tour.
Lord of all the things by Faktor shows a completely mutated life form—perhaps due to adversity or to being devoid of empathy—that could be the face of those who rule us. Divine or simply powerful, it is an operative and cold lifeform adapted to a tough environment in which its physiology becomes opposed to vital human needs.
The question around vital human needs also appears in 7722 puntos by Gcrll, in which we can see little rooms sustained by a tension net in its own crisis. Built on risk, people’s lives are threatened by any small change in this complex tensegrity. It depicts the suspension of a body in an extreme situation. It oddly futurizes. In Oxygen by Luxi, a matter—somewhere between solid and liquid— playfully supports several absurd constructions. The textures and materialities have a dynamic that attempts to form a composition, while one human hand tries to hold on to the delirious motion in an almost impossible gesture. Again, an equilibrium is compromised, a stressful extreme that, even though it is static, allows us to predict the imminent disaster.
Ver Clausi’s and Martin Bruc’s art pieces show us a total breakup, like fragmented visions that make us face the complexity and the lack of meaning found in them. In Risk on Skin and Avatar Patterns by Ver Clausi, we find a central drift of the body , and also the impossibility to shape a future. The artwork brings an unthinkable persistence, a possible adaptation, a happy plasticity. Its language is characterized by something morbid and something funny, expanding the imagination through the unknown alongside an intention to surrender. Shift de Hierro by Martin Bruc propounds a similar complexity in a landscape that operates as point zero, a place where temporality, fantasy, and materiality are collapsed. To bring into play the material, metal is presented, but in its virtual multiplicity, as a shift. By using metal in an extremely baroque morphology (churrigueresque), the colonial past is connected with the deformed present.
At this edge, we also find Moment by Julián Brangold. The piece installs questions about the human condition in a scene with a strong charge of symbolism, one coming from the relation between digitalization and quality, that follows on to the simulation of precariousness. Overall, the video insists on the poetry born from destruction, and makes this urgent place a natural habitat.
In the last part of the story, we find three very different pieces that explore an exercise in power from different points of view. The Meeting by Okytomo formulates an image of the place where decisions—capable of affecting people—are made. It shows a space above the clouds, perhaps Olympus or a skyscraper, that is out of reach for mortals. As people, it seems we have no power to act: we just need to accept this economic destiny exerted from high, powerful spheres.
In Explosión, explotación by Lucas Aguirre, this power is exercised on the body. An entity somewhere between machine and insect dominates the human figure, on the verge of swallowing it. Here humanity is depicted as a stock model, at the point of losing any subjective feature, in the abyss of brutality. For the surrender to work, the body must change until it redefines itself as a species.
Finally, in Fons Mercurialis by VXN we see a reflection of the body in a state of transformation. The focus, in this case, is related to what is possible to change as well as the transmutation implicit in the adaptation of the body in a deeply labile and unpredictable medium. In the middle of the body’s athletic activities, we find a figure in the moment of mutating, striving to exist in a complexity that doesn’t guarantee the integrity of the body.
The tour ends by returning us to a particular topology, where chaos is the established norm and uncertainty is located in the background of all discourses, as a source for poetic nature and aesthetic power. The focus of the pieces as symbolic fields has narrative and affective components that also denote the importance of finding meaning in the material experience of art.
SuperRare editor Oli Scialdone considers the social experience of provenance and its relationship with community in the Web3 space.